Food Promotions Guidance for Retailers

28th January 2015

How to develop food promotions that will not contribute to increased food waste.

What this guidance provides:
Practical steps for preventing waste for each of the main stages in the promotion planning process
Identification of potential savings, including the cost of waste disposal and the lost resources that have been used, valued at £1,200 per tonne of waste prevented at the retailer stage
New knowledge, based on best practice across the grocery sector

Why this guidance is required

  • Over one-third of food sold in the UK is on promotion: promotional sales in grocery are worth over £28bn.
  • The proportion of products on promotion varies by category, with some dairy products reaching around 60%.
  • Improved promotion design can help ensure that consumers make the most of the food they buy thereby helping to reduce household food waste, so a whole-chain approach is required to promotion planning and evaluation.
  • IGD report that 58% of shoppers claim to be buying more on promotion since the start of 2012.

What this guidance provides

  • Practical steps for preventing waste for each of the main stages in the promotion planning process.
  • Identification of potential savings, including the cost of waste disposal and the lost resources that have been used, valued at £1,200 per tonne of waste prevented at the retailer stage.
  • New knowledge, based on best practice across the grocery sector.
  • Potential for better service levels, including on-shelf availability, and lower residual stocks.
  • Potential for more effective collaboration with suppliers.

How to use this guidance

Promotions are run for a variety of reasons generally concerned with market share or generating footfall. Some retail promotions address production surpluses, but typically waste prevention is not an objective for promotions.

These notes are aimed at retail teams responsible for developing and executing promotion programmes. They have been derived from research undertaken primarily in the produce and dairy categories, based on 37 interviews with retailers and manufacturers across six supply chains, but have wider applicability.

Below are our guiding principles on waste prevention for promotions. In the guidance that follows, we have focused on the main causes of waste during each stage of a promotion: process; forecasts; choice of mechanic; supply chain; and in-store. For each, there are some practical suggestions to prevent waste arising. Finally there are some next steps for retailers.

We recognise that the suggestions will not be practical in all cases, and may be ‘business as usual’ for others, but we hope this guidance provides, in a convenient form, some practical actions from the evidence gathered that retailers will find helpful in preventing waste.